Capcom is facing accusations from fans that it's quietly adding new DRM to its older games on PC, in what appears to be an attempt to crack down on the use of mods. But the process went from "quiet" to "very noisy" after a recent update to Resident Evil Revelations caused slowdown and crashes, and prevented some mods from working. Shortly after the update went live Capcom rolled it back, but said it will be re-released once the problem is resolved.
The Resident Evil Revelations update went live on January 8, and users quickly began reporting a range of problems in its wake. That sparked a nasty backlash in the form of—you guessed it—more than 200 negative user reviews over the past few days.
We reached out to Capcom for more information about the update and have not received a reply, but the makers of Enigma Protector, the DRM that Capcom's apparently been adding to its games, did respond to a player's inquiry about the DRM, and its dismissive tone did not make players happy.
"Why are you so sure that all that you reported belongs to our software?" an Enigma representative responded on the message board for its software, before suggesting that people were angry "because you can't use the cheats anymore." (The original post has since been deleted but remains available via an Archive link.)
Resident Evil Revelations isn't the only older Capcom game that's been updated with the Enigma DRM: As noted by Eurogamer, Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection and Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective both received similar updates in late 2023. According to Steam user Waifu4Life, other Capcom games with Enigma Protector DRM installed include Capcom Arcade Stadium and Arcade 2nd Stadium, Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection, Resident Evil 5, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, and Strider.
Those games didn't see the same kind of pushback from players as Resident Evil Revelations, presumably because the relevant updates didn't so immediately and obviously break things, although negative user reviews are now starting to appear on some of their Steam pages.
Capcom hasn't said what the Resident Evil Revelations update was intended to do, or what went wrong, but it did at least acknowledge that it wasn't working like it was meant to. "Due to an issue observed with the latest update released, we have reverted the corresponding update," Capcom wrote on Steam following the rollback. "We apologize for the inconvenience caused, and once the issue is resolved, we will re-release the update. Thank you very much for your patience and cooperation."
"Patience" from players doesn't actually seem to be in great supply at the moment, and not just because of the problems with Revelations. It's not clear why Capcom would start applying new DRM to older games (Resident Evil Revelations came out in 2013) but a widely-held assumption is that it's an effort to crack down on the use of mods. Capcom spoke out forcefully against the use of mods in its games in November 2023, shortly after organizers of a Street Fighter 6 tournament forgot to switch off a nude mod and broadcast naked Chun Li to the world.
There was no direct link made to that incident in Capcom's reaction, but the publisher was clear about where it stands on the matter. In an October 2023 presentation on anti-cheat and anti-piracy measures, it described mods as "another problem" inherent in gaming on PC, and said that "all mods are defined as cheats, except when they are officially supported." That presentation came only days before Capcom patched Enigma into Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection.
"The majority of mods can have a positive impact on the game. Some mods, however, can be detrimental to the company both in terms of reputational damage and in terms of workload," Capcom said. "There are a number of mods that are offensive to public order and morals. When these are disseminated, the image of the product is tarnished and branding is affected. Also, these offensive mods may be mistaken for legitimate implementations, and can cause reputational damage.
"Anti-cheat and anti-piracy measures are very important to protect the company's future profits and reputation ... As long as you publish PC games, you must take countermeasures. Otherwise, financial damages, reputational damage, and workload will accumulate."
Capcom is correct that mods are a major part of what makes PC gaming so great—what it may have misjudged is how players will react when you try to take that away. Assuming that's what's happening here, it's not the first time Capcom has taken aggressive action in order to discourage mods: In December 2023, Monster Hunter YouTube channel Team Darkside said Capcom Japan's legal team was issuing takedown requests and copyright strikes against Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak videos featuring any kind of mod usage.
So far Capcom hasn't made any public comment about the Resident Evil Revelations update, or its apparent anti-mod efforts in general, nor has it responded to inquiries. In a statement sent to PC Gamer, an Enigma Protector representative essentially disavowed involvement, and said that people unhappy with the situation should direct their inquiries (and anger) at Capcom.
"We produce a software for protection of Windows executable files against reverse engineering, cracking and so on," the rep said. "Our customers protect their own software with ours. Note, we do not control what software is being protected, we do not control how it is protected, we do not know protection options that are used. We do not even have contacts with our customers regarding protection ... Usage of our product fully belongs to the customer. We can't even know what software is protected and why it is protected."